Why you should start your fitness resolutions in February

Why you should start your fitness resolutions in February

As I write this blog, I reminisce about how my January 2024 has started... and possibly similar to some of you, it hasn't started to plan.  Being someone who is on a routine schedule going to the gym, has actually gone off the rails in January.  A few reasons... the year started with a flu(not typically), which turned into a lot of catch up at work and a few big projects going to completion in January.  Safe to say, gym time was almost non-existent.  Now, this isn't about giving excuses but about how 1 month should not determine your entire year.  

Interestingly, stats show that 80% of people quit their New Years Resolutions by February, while only 8% KEEP their resolutions for the entire year. 

Not good numbers if you're betting on success with your fitness goals. When I think of who this applies to, I think of 2 groups of people.  The first group being people who have not had a fitness routine for over 6 months and are starting over again.  For these people, if January didn't go as planned, there's definitely help you can find out there in a coach or an accountability friend that can get you back on track.  For the second group, the people who have been on a regular fitness routine and dropped off in Janurary(myself as an example) - don't sweat it, you'll get right back to action.  

Now, for my arguement of why February can be a great month to start:  First, we know what usually happens in December... the eating, partying, non-routining really takes it's toll.  So to go from that to a brand new person in January doesn't make a lot of logical sense nor does it work.  Instead, I would recommend taking the month of January to work your way back to "normal" and strategize WHAT would make you successful for the remainder of the year.  

Second, February is the shortest month with only 28 days.  Having a successful February with less days in it is not only more likely but you also get a great pat in the back for completing a full month of healthy habits. 

Third, gyms typically are less busy in February and the New Year rush is typically over by then (80% dropp off remember?).  So, more space for you and everything should be easier from finding parking to getting the times you want in the gym.  

Before you start your planning for a better February, understand that change takes time - especially big changes.  Below are some important questions to ask yourself...

  • What is my overall goal for the change I want to make this year?
  • What has kept me stuck in the present habit?
  • What obstacles can I foresee that will prevent me from succeeding in my resolutions?
  • What circumstances will make success more likely and how do I create those?
  • Who can I find to help me with this plan?

The very action of thinking through how you will complete a task, predicting any obstacles, and bringing a partner in on the plans, are all evidence-based that we know they are rooted in behavioral science. 

Personally, I know February will be better and that January was just a small blip in the big picture. Instead of letting your guilt jump in (yes I'm talking to you A-types especially), why don't we use January for reflection and February, the month for real action.  When you're truly ready, that's when you should get started...  How does Feb 1 sound?


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